The Chinese Amigo: Implications for the Development of Equatorial Guinea

The Chinese Amigo: Implications for the Development of Equatorial Guinea

Mario Esteban September 10, 2009
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In the last five years China has dramatically increased its presence in Africa. Despite its abundant natural resources, the notoriety of its political regime and its close relationship with Beijing, Equatorial Guinea is a glaring omission in the China–Africa literature. This article intends to fulfil that gap by analysing the bilateral relationship between Beijing and Malabo at both the official and the social levels to assess its impact on the development of Equatorial Guinea. As bad governance is the main obstacle for the development of Equatorial Guinea, the article compares the role played by Chinese companies and government in reinforcing Obiang's authoritarian regime with that played by their Western counterparts. It concludes that Chinese extractive firms play a marginal role in the financial extraversion that strongly links the Obiang regimen with US oil companies. Conversely, the Chinese government offers Obiang more extensive and stable support than Western governments to the extent that most of the undeniable developmental potential of Chinese co-operation is wasted through clientelist networks.

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